A friend recently asked me what has been the best book I’ve ever read. Someone asked a similar question to Kevin DeYoung, which got me thinking about some formative books for me. While I can’t say I have one absolute favorite (there’s just too many!), there’s been some books that have been particularly helpful for me in my Christian growth.
What are they?
You can find all 15 below, but first — a few caveat’s:
1) I know I’m relatively young, and haven’t read thousands and thousands of books. But I read a few a month, and have for years. And I’d recommend any of the books listed below to any Christian in a heart beat.
2) I haven’t read every word of a few of the books mentioned (like Calvin’s Institutes, for example). But you don’t need to read an entire book to experience change. Sometimes, a simple chapter will do.
3) The books are not in any specific order.
15 Books That Have Formed Me As A Christian
Outside of the Bible, of course, here’s 15 books that have formed me the most as a Christian:
C.J. Mahaney, Humility
I’m glad I read this book in my early twenties. Few books are better to give to a young Christian.
Paul Miller, A Praying Life
This is the best book on prayer I’ve ever read. I still use Miller’s techniques of prayer and organizing prayer to this day, several years later.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology
Lots of my theologian friends prefer Louis Berkhof, but I’m putting my Systematic money on Grudem. This volume is a treasure and every page is a delight. I want to read and re-read it several more times.
Arnold Dallimore, Spurgeon
Who has God used more than Charles Spurgeon? That list of names is small. There’s nothing like reading a good biography, and there hasn’t been many spiritual giants quite like Charles Spurgeon. My faith, love for Christ, and desire to be used by God rose when I read this book.
I once heard Paul Washer say that this book has been the most impactful book he’s ever read. I now see why. The faith and prayer life of Muller is simply staggering, one that encouraged me greatly.
A.W. Pink, The Attributes of God
The more I learn about someone I love, the more I love them. Yet, all humans are sinful. But God is not. And the more I dive into God’s perfections, the more I leave with greater adoration for him. I love studying God’s attributes. That’s why I love this book.
A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God
Is there anything that brings more joy than knowing that God is sovereign over all? I think not. This book helped me understand that truth in greater depth.
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
I’ve read several Tim Keller books and this is one of my favorites. Keller helped me find my idols, and replace them with the gospel (an on-going process).
R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God
This book is necessary, but not safe. Be careful: it may have you trembling in the presence of God.
John Piper, Desiring God
Talk to an unbeliever and ask them what they think about Christianity. They’ll probably tell you that they think Christianity is a kill-joy religion. But that’s not true. No one has taught me more about joy in the Christian life than John Piper, and it’s mostly because of this book.
J.I. Packer, Knowing God
When a book on theology sells over a million copies, I tend to pay attention. This books helped me see the “bigness” and majesty of God.
Randy Alcorn, Managing God’s Money
Alcorn helped me see that God owns everything — not just money — and that joy always follows proper stewardship.
John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life
I read this book my junior year in undergraduate school. It created a sense of urgency within my soul to steward my life well.
R.C. Sproul, The Invisible Hand
One of my favorite theologians on my favorite doctrines (Providence). This is probably one of Sproul’s most underrated books.
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
Might be the best book of all-time (outside of the Bible). Still need to finish reading the whole thing, but I’ve read enough. It’s better than gold.
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